Saratoga Report #7: The Awards

Michael Spector
Michael Spector

Horse of the Meet: Songbird – It was the “Summer of Songbird” at Saratoga!  She was the hype horse from the very first week of the meet and she didn’t disappoint as she took home two Grade 1 wins in the Coaching Club American Oaks and Alabama Stakes.  Saratoga set up to be her proving ground after missing the Kentucky Oaks with an illness, and she definitely did prove she is head and shoulders above anyone else in her division.

Older Male of the Meet: Flintshire – Two races…two completely awesome and dominating wins!!  Flintshire is basically a one horse show as nobody in American can run with him on the turf.  In his two wins at this meet he basically never got out of a gallop and still won.  His explosive stretch running move is something very special.

Older Female of the Meet: Cavorting – The Grade 1 Personal Ensign was supposed to be a race that was too long for Cavorting, but she came with her normal run and got the job done just like always!  This award was close as sprinter Haveyougoneaway won two stakes and nearly got the edge, but the now two turn horse Cavorting showed enough class in one race to get the slight edge.

3 Year Old Male of the Meet: Arrogate – He left us all trying to comprehend has had just happened as he dominated the Travers Stakes!  Stakes record…track record…not much more you could have asked from this lightly raced horse trained by Bob Baffert.  He came into the Travers as a major unknown, and exited the race as one of the only horses that could challenge California Chrome in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.  I think that says it all…

3 Year Old Female of the Meet: Songbird – She was the horse of the meet so obviously she is the runaway winner of this award.  There is not another horse in this division that is even remotely close to her.

2 Year Old Male of the Meet: Practical Joke – We had different winners of all three major 2 year old races at the meet, but overall Practical Joke stands out the most as he won the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes on closing day.  He was also impressive in a maiden victory as well, and leaves Saratoga with a perfect two for two record as he heads into Breeders’ Cup season.

2 Year Old Female of the Meet: Sweet Loretta – The winner of the Schuylerville and Spinaway Stakes was an easy choice for this award.  Even though she dead heated with Pretty City Dancer in the Spinaway, her win in the Schuylerville pushes her over the top.  It will be exciting to see her and Pretty City Dancer’s progression moving forward.

Sprinter of the Meet: A.P. Indian – Easy choice here as he won both the Forego Stakes and Vanderbilt Handicap in dominating fashion.  He’s also easly the best sprinter on the east coast right now with the only question mark being how he’ll match up with the west coast horses at the Breeders’ Cup.

Owner of the Meet: Michael Dubb – Every time you turned on Saratoga it seemed like this guy was in the winners circle!  Michael Dubb had 13 victories on the meet winning the title by two races.  He’s become a house hold name among New York race fans, and it’s hard to see his success ending anytime soon.

Trainer of the Meet: Chad Brown – Not only did Chad Brown win his first ever Saratoga training title, but he also set a new record while doing so!  His 40 victories set a new single season meet record, surpassing the old record of 38 that was set by Todd Pletcher.  Pletcher finished second with 31 wins which shows just how dominant Chad Brown was this year.  Slowly but surely Chad Brown is beoming more successful with dirt horses as he won several big races on the main track this season.

Jockey of the Meet: Jose Ortiz – Everyone figured an Ortiz brother would take home the riding title at Saratoga this year, but many felt it would be Irad and not his brother Jose.  However, Jose ended up running away with the award while his brother Irad could only settle for second.  He ended up with 65 wins for the meet.

Race of the Meet: The Travers Stakes – Everyone expected the Travers to be an amazing race, but nobody could have guessed we’d see both a stakes and track record type of performance.  The lightly raced Arrogate took control of the race right out of the gate and never looked back!

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